Ambitious Grigori Matein just returned from his visit to the Joint European Torus (JET) in Culham. He has already been doing experiments in a lab during his spare time, and now the twenty-year-old has started studying physics at the Cambridge University. With excitement the winner of last year’s EUCYS prize tells us about his experiences at the biggest fusion experiment in operation in the world.

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EUCYS winner Grigori Matein spent a couple of days at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (Image: private)

“I think science connects people. I will never forget how I sat down in the JET canteen for lunch talking to people from eight different countries. And I realised, it is not about your language or your nationality, it is about your ambition and your knowledge”, says the amazed Grigori Matein. As the winner of last year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) he has been invited to visit the JET in September 2015. Even now he is still impressed by the sheer size of the fusion experiment. “What they are doing is finding the magnitude of influence of different phenomena within the tokamak, how to make an experiment better. That’s what I did in my project, but my project was thousand times smaller”, explains the new student of physics.

“If you ask the right questions, science gives answers”, is the motto that drives Matein forward. He has been longing to enter into scientific research even before studying at university. For his investigations into the sounds of heated liquids, he was awarded the EUCYS prize in Poland last year. He is able to tell the concentration based on the way the liquids sound. “Investigation into that particular method have not been well developed”, he informs. When he was in the 11th grade, he decided to find out more about it. In his spare time, he carried out experiments at the Faculty of Physics in Sofia University in Bulgaria with the help of his supervisor.

It was his eagerness that helped Bulgarian Grigori to make his way to Cambridge. “It was not easy to apply here. But the prizes I received throughout the years surely helped to open the door for me”, he explains happily. It is understood that he will work hard for his grades.

Still being in awe of the impact fusion research may have on daily life or other scientific areas, Matein is looking forward to proceeding with his studies. Once he is done, he really aims to be part of the international fusion
community: “I would be able to work with the best scientists on the edge of scientific knowledge. I would be able to share my fascination and together we could achieve something really big.”

EUCYS prize: The European Union Contest supports young scientists in different areas of science and technology. The competition offers students the opportunity to challenge the best of their coevals at European level. As one of the eight EIROforum members EUROfusion is part of EUCYS. Each EIROforum member awards a special prize. EUROfusion physics offers a one week stay at the fusion experiment JET in Culham, England, to one lucky contestant.